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Since the natural hospital delivery of my daughter nearly three years ago, I’d always wanted to go one better. I wanted a homebirth with my second, but after much research and participation one of the monthly meet ups at our local newly established homebirth support the hubby and I concluded that in our current circumstances this could be rather a stressful option.
So we eventually agreed upon the plan to be successful in having a water birth in hospital and to labour at home as long as possible (see blog post here). What we didn’t bank on was a very sudden speeding up of labour at home. We got to a point very suddenly were there was a risk of me actually giving birth in the car. Medically it became advisable that we stay home.
Opting for the homebirth
When the midwife and hubby were indecisive about what to do, after a particularly excruciating contraction I huskily bellowed “we are staying home”. No one was going to mess with me, I was in one of those lioness primal moments. Don’t cross me or I’ll eat you alive! I’d done putting other people’s feelings first, this was what I wanted and there was no way I was leaving that room let alone getting in the car, even for the short journey.
Nothing more was said, they both jumped to their action stations scouring the house for suitable waterproof floor coverings and old towels etc. Out came the waterproof backed picnic blanket (which is now sacred), the bed wetting mat and all our old towels.
The thought of staying at home and pursuing the birth I’d always wanted immediately relaxed me and in turn labour started to slow down a bit.
What?! I thought. I should relax and labour should get faster surely?
But the midwife reassured me later that it was my body’s way of saying “rest and be thankful”, to prepare for the super quick progression ahead. Quicker than any of us thought, with not enough time to even get the pre-warned second midwife present for the birth.
After things had slowed down a bit, I started to feel a little despondent and told myself that this was not allowed, we needed to get this show back on the road. Then it did, I clearly saw the finishing line and was hell-bent on getting to it as quickly as possible. Contractions increased in intensity. You know you’re going full pelt when you think you’re at the end of your tether, sucking as hard as possible on the gas and air and are leaving bite marks on the nozzle. When your efforts to contain noise goes out the window (sorry neighbours). When your birth partner is squeezed so hard they have to swear (he had the bruise to prove it). When you’re legs give way from underneath you, and finally when all you want to do is push!
Hubby clearly didn’t realise how far along we were when he explained that I have a few more gears in me yet. I not so calmly explained that I was going full throttle at that point, I knew I was at transition.
Than a slight fear kicked in
What if I was going to be pushing for four plus hours like my last labour? I didn’t feel like I had it in me, I knew I did really if needed, but I couldn’t bear the thought. My mother Teresa midwife (yes she was called Teresa), reassured me this was definitely NOT going to be the case. Little did I know that an hour later it would all be over and I would be holding my baby.
When I had the urge to push, I honestly thought I was going to have a number two, right there stood up dangling from my husband’s neck on the living room floor. The midwife calmly suggested that after the next contraction I get down on the floor and lean over my birth ball. Then full on pushing commenced. Much to my relief the 20-30 mins pushing felt more like five minutes. And then all of a sudden the intensity, and then the relief as he was born. Wow, it’s over already was all I could think.
From my husband getting home till baby Boyo arriving, it was just over an hour and a half. From being just 3cms to the arrival of the baby it was just under three hours. From the midwife arriving to the birth it was just over four and a half hours.
Born in the caul
My waters never broke, in fact baby Boyo’s head came out still in the amniotic sack of fluid. According to this website, this is very rare, one in 80,000 kind of rare. But slightly more common in homebirths which are much less likely to have any intervention. The midwife had to immediately break open the sack and unwrap the cord from around baby’s neck.
As this was a fast birth and my waters had not broken it would have been a bit of a shock to the baby, so it took about a minute for him to start crying. His agpar score at one minute was only 6 out of 10, but a minute later this jumped up to 9. During this minute hubby held his breath, for me I was too busy breathing a very long sigh of relief that the worst bit of labour was over.
Straight after he cried my little boy was wrapped up in an old towel and handed to me. It was beautiful, one of the most joyful moments of my life. Corny, but so true.
Delayed cord cutting
I’d read a lot about the benefits of delaying the cutting of the cord and daddy didn’t actually cut it for a good hour or so later, after I had naturally birthed the placenta. I was so pleased to both delay the cutting of the cord and to have been able to deliver the placenta totally naturally.
The whole experience can only be described as utterly amazing, I only wish every labouring woman could go through this experience.